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Poster: cream-puff-war Date: Dec 8, 2008 12:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: The Who USAF PSA vs. The Animals - (non-Dead '68 psych) Sky Pilot

View the-twain-shall-meet-sky-pilot-mono-e-r-i-c-b-u-r-d-o-n-a-n-i-m-a-l-s

The Twain Shall Meet is an album released in 1968 by Eric Burdon and The Animals. It includes "Sky Pilot," one of the most famous anti-war songs of the Vietnam War era, including the sound of a plane crashing and a terrific guitar riff by Vic Briggs.

When released as a single, "Sky Pilot (Parts 1 & 2)" was split into two parts due to the length.

The double-A sided single reached number 14 on the U.S. pop charts.
I recall Part 1 getting the most airplay. Sometimes late at night daring AM djs in Boulder, Colorado (where I was "stationed" at the time - in 9th grade) played both sides without interruption.

The mono single featured a different mix than the stereo LP version, and I'll get to that later.

The Sky Pilot of the title is a military chaplain, as revealed by the opening verse:

He blesses the boys
As they stand in line
The smell of gun grease
And the bayonets they shine
He's there to help them
All that he can
To make them feel wanted
He's a good holy man
The line-up includes Eric Burdon on lead vocals, Vic Briggs on guitar, John Weider on guitar and electric violin, Danny McCulloch on bass guitar, and Barry Jenkins on drums.

The song is a balladic "slice of life" story about a chaplain who blesses a body of troops just before they set out on an overnight raid or patrol, and then retires to await their return.

"Sky Pilot" is organized into three movements: an introduction, a programmatic interlude, and a conclusion.

The introduction begins with the verse quoted above, sung a cappella and solo by Eric Burdon. Thereafter the band joins in with instruments for the chorus. Several verse-chorus iterations follow, leaving the story with the "boys" gone to battle and the Sky Pilot retired to his bed. The verses are musically lean, dominated by the vocal and a pulsing bass guitar, with a strummed acoustic guitar and drum mixed in quietly.

The interlude starts as a guitar solo, but the guitar is quickly submerged under a montage of battle sounds. First come the sounds of an airstrike; then the airstrike and Rock band fade into the sounds of shouting, gunfire, and bagpipes. Near the end of the interlude the battle sounds fade, briefly leaving the bagpipes playing alone before the third movement begins.

The bagpipe music is a covert recording of the pipers of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards playing "All The Bluebonnets Are Over The Border", captured by Burdon while performing at a school. He received an angry letter from the UK government (or possibly the Crown) over his use of the recording in the song.

The conclusion begins with the return of the bass and strummed acoustic guitar, accompanied by strings. After a few measures the verses resume, but with a quieter, melancholy atmosphere: one verse is sung along with bass, guitar, and strings, and then without a choral break a final verse (quoted below) is sung to bass, guitar, and woodwinds. Finally a strong bass line announces the return of the chorus, now accompanied with horns and piccolos, repeated several times as it fades. The musical effect is very upbeat, in stark contrast with the "downer" content of the movement's lyrics.

The song is universally interpreted as an anti-war protest song. There are no overt anti-war statements, but no glorification of war either. The (presumed) anti-war message is conveyed simply and obliquely, by lines such as:

But he'll stay behind
And he'll meditate
But it won't stop the bleeding
Or ease the hate
and the final verse:

In the morning they return
With tears in their eyes
The stench of death
Drifts up to the skies
A young soldier so ill
Looks at the Sky Pilot
Remembers the words
'Thou Shall Not Kill'
There is also a sense of futility, or perhaps moral judgement upon the chaplain, conveyed by the chorus:

Sky Pilot
How High Can You Fly
You'll never reach the sky
The war in question is usually assumed to be the Vietnam War, though the bagpipes and apparent sounds of a dive bomber in the interlude, taken with the UK nationality of the artists, may suggest an earlier era.

Differences between the mono and stereo mixes
The mono single version is unique as it features several effects not included in the stereo version, including more echo in the a cappella introduction, heavy reverb effect at the end of the line "How high can you fly?" (Part 1 only), and an extra bagpipe passage at the end of the fadeout on Part 2.
Also, the airstrike and battle sounds are both moved forward in the instrumental break.

(There is a split-second length click at the start of the song that occured when I transferred it. Just the one click, not to worry that more jolting sounds - besides Burdon's band's FX - will happen. I'll fix it later).


"Sky Pilot" contrasts somewhat from the pro-Air Force promo by Pete Townshend, to be sure!

The Who "reach for the Moon" in this actual USAF PSA they made circa 1967:

View The W h o U.S. Air Force PSA



This post was modified by cream-puff-war on 2008-12-08 20:21:07

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Poster: whirlwind dreamer 65-95 Date: Dec 7, 2008 10:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: kennedy center honors-the who and a possible present for the dead on their 50th?

:) now its fact!!! cream!!

This post was modified by whirlwind dreamer 65-95 on 2008-12-08 06:15:18

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Poster: whirlwind dreamer 65-95 Date: Dec 7, 2008 10:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: kennedy center honors-the who and a possible present for the dead on their 50th?

we love ya billy wuz a mountain!! FZ. /MOTHERS!!! 72

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Poster: whirlwind dreamer 65-95 Date: Dec 7, 2008 9:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: kennedy center honors-the who and a possible present for the dead on their 50th?

wrong jimi was 101st screaming eagles AIRBORNE!!!~

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Poster: whirlwind dreamer 65-95 Date: Dec 7, 2008 9:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: kennedy center honors-the who and a possible present for the dead on their 50th?

http://www.armymwr.com/halloffame.html